His success comes after four previous defeats in ranking event finals.
David Gilbert has captured the Championship League Snooker crown after a 3-1 defeat of Mark Allen in the final on Friday at the Morningside Arena.
It’s the Englishman’s first professional title at the age of 40, and it comes almost two decades after he first joined the Main Tour in 2002.
Gilbert topped Group 2 of Stage Three with a record of two triumphs and a loss, scoring six league points to place above Ali Carter, Ryan Day, and Cao Yupeng in a closely contested round-robin phase.
Finishing in first place sent him through to the final to face Mark Allen, who enjoyed a perfect route through from Group 1 having won all three of his encounters to the loss of just a single frame, including a 3-0 ousting of reigning champion Kyren Wilson that included a tournament-high total clearance of 146.
Allen, looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2020/21 campaign, was the favourite and the Northern Irishman began the final strongly with a contribution of 102.
However, Gilbert responded well and on this occasion was not to be denied success at the last hurdle, compiling breaks of 59 and 57 to finally etch his name onto some silverware.
The Championship League may not be the most prestigious tournament to win on the calendar – indeed, it may be the least prestigious with a champion’s cheque worth just £33,000 – but that won’t matter to Gilbert.
The cueist known as the Farmer, who is laid back even in the worst of times, can now put a lot of those painful reverses in the past behind him and instead look forward to adding to his tally in the future.
Very well done to Dave Gilbert winning his first tournament… it was only a matter of time!! Decent start to the season for me but just wasn’t meant to be in the end. Onto the next one for me. British open starts Monday. I play 7pm
— Mark Allen (@pistol147) August 13, 2021
Having excelled in the short format in what was the first tournament of the season, Gilbert and indeed Allen will have confidence riding high ahead of next week’s British Open, which features best-of-five frame clashes in the early rounds.
The 2021/22 season-opening Championship League, meanwhile, may be remembered as the tournament when David Gilbert broke his duck, but other than that it was an utterly dismal affair.
A plain and elongated format that took almost four weeks to complete, it was the antithesis of an enthralling curtain-raiser.
Yes, it served its purpose as a schedule filler to grant players some opportunities to get their cue arm going, but as a spectacle for the fans it must be regarded as one of the worst and most boring tournaments in snooker’s history.
There have been five versions of the Championship League since the start of last year – an often necessary addition to the calendar as a result of the ongoing global issues – but let’s hope that the most recent edition is the last for a while.
Featured photo credit: @CLSnooker
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